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Hospital Shadowing in Spain

Hospital Shadowing in Spain
A six-week program where students shadow doctors to gain professional experience in the medical field. Earn credit, build confidence, and be immersed in a new culture.
Language of Instruction: 
Academic Disciplines: 
Community Health
Exercise Science
Program Type: 
  • Spend the summer in Spain shadowing doctors four days per week (for 20+ hours) over a 4 or 6 week period
  • Learn first-hand about an international publicly-funded healthcare system
  • Build confidence in a hospital setting through extensive observation of physician to patient contact
  • Gain a competitive edge in graduate school applications, domestic health related internships, and a broadened perspective on the medical vocation
  • Earn KU internship credit for your shadowing experience
  • Experience the rich culture and cuisine of Spain through weekly group excursions and group meals
Program Summary: 

The University of Kansas (KU) has partnered with Atlantis, which focuses on providing AAMC-compliant physician shadowing in an international setting, to offer a 4-6 week Hospital Shadowing Program in Spain. Atlantis Fellows are afforded the opportunity to experience global healthcare by shadowing doctors in a different specialty each week for at least 20 hours per week. This provides an ideal learning opportunity for pre-med and pre-nursing students as well as those interested in clinical health areas such as physiology, developmental biology, exercise science, medical diagnostics, microbiology, neuroscience, physical therapy, and other allied health fields.  Fellows will gain extensive observation experience in a hospital setting, a broadened perspective on the medical vocation, and a comparative lens to examine global healthcare. 

Fellows will shadow four days per week (a min. of five hours daily) from early morning to early afternoon.  Shadowing specialties vary by location and Fellows typically shadow in pairs. Though Fellows can request specialties of interest, surgery and other departments are not guaranteed. Department availability depends on the hospital and doctors’ schedules. 

In addition to shadowing, Fellows will have the opportunity to give back to their community by teaching English to medical professionals or volunteering in other capacities at the hospital for 3-5 hours per week.  

Each Friday of the Fellowship is reserved for an outing with the whole Fellowship group. Past excursions have included hikes, visits to local museums, sporting events, boat tours, beach trips, kayaking and even taking the train to explore another nearby city. Each excursion includes the transportation and one group lunch or dinner and is planned and led by the program’s site manager.


Atlantis regularly places students in a variety of locations throughout Spain such as Almansa, Guadalajara, Mallorca, Talavera, Toledo, Zaragoza and many more.The 4-week and 6-week programs offered during the summer 2019 term will take place in Guadalajara and Toledo  respectively. 

Guadalajara is a small city in central Spain located northeast of Madrid. With a small town vibe that has close proximity to the major metropolis of Madrid, Guadalajara can provide insight into both sides of typical Spanish life. A 2016 Fellow from Guadalajara says "it was an amazing experience to be able to learn more about the specialities and learn from actual doctors and seeing surgeries!" Hospital Universitaro de Guadalajara is located on the southern edge of the city. This university hospital is attached to the University of Alcalá for the practices of students of medicine and nursing. It has specialties ranging from anesthesiology, cardiology, and endocrinology to traumatology, emergency, and pediatrics. Guadalajara is full of incredible palaces, parks, and voluminous churches. There are plenty of historical and culturally rich places to explore in the city, and Madrid is only a quick trip away on the weekends!

Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a beautiful city south of Madrid with a rich historic background due to the co-existence of traditionally clashing cultures. Known as the "Imperial City," it is famous for its Gothic Cathedral, medieval castle, places of worship, and a fortress all dating back to the 16th century or earlier. The hospital in Toledo is also a fairly large one that Atlantis has had Fellows in for several years. A 2016 Fellow said "This shadowing experience cemented my decision in pursuing medicine. Not only did I grow academically, I also grew professionally and culturally. My time in Spain was a dream." With a range of surgical services, an area for general medical attention, and a technical assistance area, this hospital in Toledo provides patients with a range of care. With more than 800 beds, they have the capacity to serve many in various ways (including pediatrics, endocrinology, psychiatry, and more). Fellows will gain a diverse shadowing experience in this well-equipped hospital in Spain.


Academic Information: 

Please note that the 6-week program is approved to satisfy Goal 4.2 of the KU Core.  The 4-week program is not currently approved due to the shorter duration.

The hospital shadowing experience is for-credit and graded. Credit is available through the academic departments listed below. Due to contact hour requirements, some courses are only available for the 6-week program. All courses have variable credit hours (1-3), so each partipant selects how many credits they wish to enroll in.  Please note, however, that a minmum of 3 credits is required to be eligible for summer financial aid.

BIOL 490 (available on 4 and 6 week programs)
Biology Internship & Practical Applications (1-3 credits)
This course supports the supervised practical experiences in an occupational area of interest. In addition to the work-related activity, students will likely be asked to complete reading and writing assignments, participate in on-line discussions, and create a final summary of internship accomplishments. Hours of credit recorded are based on number of hours at internship site and agreement of instructor. Credit hours will be assigned a letter grade. Repeatable for up to 6 credit hours, provided the internship experiences are different.

HNRS 496 (available on 4 and 6 week programs)
Honors Program - Honors Internship ( 1-3 credits)
Students participate in an internship in an organization related to their professional/career goals. An internship plan is developed by the student in conjunction with the student's academic adviser and an authorized agent of the internship site. Satisfies: U Undesignated elective (U), Honors

HSES 335 (available on 6 week program only)
Health, Sport, & Exercise Sci - Clincial Field Experience ( 3 credits)
Clinical Field Experience is designed to allow students who plan to pursue clinical careers the opportunity to observe and assist (as appropriate) in the evaluation and/or treatment of patients by licensed clinicians in fields such as medicine, physical therapy, and cardiac rehabilitation. Only one enrollment permitted each semester. A maximum of six hours will apply towards the bachelor's degree, or a maximum of three credit hours will apply towards the bachelor's degree if the student subsequently enrolls in HSES 580 (Internship). Prerequisite: Admittance to the Community Health or Exercise Science undergraduate degree program in HSES.

LA&S 490 (available on 6 week program only)
Liberal Arts & Sciences - Internship Exploration ( 1-3 credits)
This course provides credit for supervised practical experiences in an occupational area of interest. In addition to the work-related activity, students complete reading and writing assignments, participate in an on-line discussion and create a final portfolio of internship accomplishments. Hours of credit recorded (1-3) are based on number of hours at internship site and agreement of instructor. Credit hours will be assigned a letter grade. Repeatable for up to 5 credit hours, provided the internship experiences are different. Satisfies: Goal 6 Outcome 1 (AE61), U Undesignated elective (U)



Participants will be housed in furnished university residences, hotels, or apartments.  Units are single-gender and typically double-occupancy with shared bathrooms and common spaces.  Towels, linens and internet are provided.  Transportation costs between the program housing and hospital are included as well as airport transfers at the beginning and end of the program. 

A light breakfast is provided from Mon-Fri, as well as four weekly group meals at local restaurants. For most lunches, fellows buy and prepare their own food or stop in a local cafe for an inexpensive sandwich.


This program is open to students of all undergraduate levels pursuing a career in healthcare.  A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required, however, students with a lower GPA will be considered on a case-by-case basis with the submission of a GPA petition.

After applying to the program, an Atlantis Admission Coordinator will conduct an interview with you to discuss your application, career goals in healthcare, as well as your interest in pursuing medicine as a career and your interest in the program.  Interviews last around 30-45 minutes, and take place over Skype or Zoom.  Atlantis is looking for participants with a genuine passion for healthcare, good communication skills, an altruistic attitude, and professionalism.

Please note: the majority of participants are not fluent in Spanish, however, because you will encounter the local language while shadowing and becuase doctors have varying levels of English fluency (if at all), Fellows are encouraged to have at least a basic understanding of Spanish.

Add Course: 
Language of Instruction: 
English or Spanish
Date Reviewed: 
Fall 2016
Equivalency Valid Until: 
Fall 2021
KU Course
KU Credit Hours: 


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To learn more about your study abroad options, we encourage you to visit the Study Abroad Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The Study Abroad Info Center offers walk-in advising for current and prospective students. Drop by to learn more about program options, make an appointment with a study abroad program coordinator, get information on scholarships and financial aid, and talk to returned study abroad students. We also encourage you to explore the resources available on our website to learn more about the application process, KU Core Approved programs, and the cost of study abroad. 

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